The University of Minnesota women’s soccer team has gotten off to a fast start in the early stages of their non-conference season having won three games in the first five days of their 2008 schedule. The Gophers hope to make it four consecutive wins to start their 2008 campaign when they travel to Fargo, N.D. to take on North Dakota State this Sunday in a 1:00 p.m. match. Watch Live in the Gold Zone!
Scouting the Gophers
The Minnesota midfield has dominated play thus far in 2008. The group’s efforts have led to the Gophers outshooting their first two opponents by a staggering 85-14 margin. The midfield core, led by seniors Kelsey Hood (Ankeny, Iowa), Clare Grimwood (Eagan, Minn.) and Kaitlin Wagner (Plymouth, Minn.), looks to be one of the most pivitol groups to the Gophers’ hopes for 2008 success.
The early stages of the Gophers’ 2008 campaign have served as a spotlight on some pleasant surprises for the Gophers. Forward Sara Clancy (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) entered her junior season with just one career goal. Clancy doubled that total when she netted a pair of goals in the Gophers’ season opener against Northern Iowa on Aug. 22. The 6’0” Clancy looks to continue to be a viable scoring threat as the Gophers enter the teeth of their non-conference schedule.
Freshman forward Tamara Strahota (Burnsville, Minn.) has been a thorn in opponents’ sides throughout each of the first three games. Strahota came off the bench to harass the Panther defense with seven shots in the season opener and netted her first career goal Aug. 26 at South Dakota State. The Burnsville, Minn native has been a pest for opponents, displaying startling speed and creating opportunities for her more experienced midfield core to send balls deep into the opposing zone.
The Gophers have also gotten solid play from senior forward Lindsey Schwartz (Bettendorf, Iowa), who netted the game-winner against Montana in the 85th minute, and from junior Angie Olson (Eagan, Minn.) who was tied for the Big Ten leadership in assists (3) through the first week of the season. Sophomore Molly Rouse (Cambridge, Minn.) has also tallied an assist in each game this season.
Scouting the Bison
North Dakota State enters its weekend with a 2-0-0 record after claiming road victories over Austin Peay and Murray State last week. The Bison will get their weekend slate under way when they travel to Omaha, Neb. on Friday night to take on Creighton.
Junior forward Lorraine Thompson (Sioux Falls, S.D.) was named Summit League Offensive Player of the Week after she recorded a goal and an assist against Murray State.
This season is the second for NDSU as a member of the Summit League. The team ended the 2007 season with a 3-4-1 mark in conference play, good enough for a fifth place regular season finish.
The Gophers are 4-0-1 all-time against Summit League foes. That mark includes a 2-0 Minnesota victory against South Dakota State on Aug. 26.
Minnesota is 7-2-0 in August matches under Mikki Denney Wright.
This weekend’s match is the Gophers’ fourth regular season contest. This year marks the first time Minnesota has played more than two regular season games in August.
Sunday’s contest is the third consecutive road match for the Gophers. The three-match stretch is the only time the Gophers will play more than two consecutive games away from Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium during the 2008 regular season.
After the trip to Fargo, the Gophers will return home next weekend to host the Regina Moench Memorial Tournament. Minnesota will play Ohio and 2007 NCAA Tournament participant Creighton at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium next weekend.